Author: Gerald Schoenewolf Ph.D.
Tolstoy once said that all happy families were alike and that all unhappy families were unhappy in different ways. I would say that all unhappy families and all unhappy groups (as in therapy groups) are also alike in certain ways. Both unhappy families and unhappy groups tend to have scapegoats and holy cows, members who are devalued and on whom everything is blamed, and members who are idealized and to whom all credit is given. This paper looks at the etiology of scapegoats and holy cows and how they may be approached in group therapy.